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Smith hopeful he'll pitch again this season

HOUSTON -- Angels setup man Joe Smith is still holding out hope that he'll pitch before the end of the regular season, even though he sprained his left ankle with only 16 days remaining.

"Yeah, I hope so," Smith said prior to Tuesday's game at Minute Maid Park. "As far as being hurt, we got some of the best news we could."

An MRI on Smith's ankle, which he injured while tripping down a flight of stairs at the team hotel in Minnesota on Saturday morning, revealed only a sprain of the joint capsule. Structurally, everything is sound. And Smith said that "every day it keeps getting better," though he still has to walk with a protective boot most of the time.

The 31-year-old sidearm reliever still has to wait for the swelling to subside and for his range of motion to return. An injury like his usually carries a recovery time of at least two weeks, but Smith is hoping to drastically speed up his timetable.

"As far as pitching, they said it's a pain-tolerance thing," Smith relayed. "'As much as you can handle. But structurally, you'll be fine. The muscles are all fine, your ligaments are good.' So, as long as I can get to that point where I can tolerate the pain, then I'm good to go."

Worth noting

• Angels second baseman Johnny Giavotella (fourth nerve palsy) saw 20 pitches from former second-round Draft pick Hunter Green in the instructional league on Tuesday morning. Angels manager Mike Scioscia reported that Giavotella had "no double vision" and that "there's a possibility" he can return for the weekend series against the Mariners.

Jered Weaver is slated to start against the Mariners on Sunday for the series finale at Angel Stadium. The last time Weaver faced the Mariners, he barked at Kyle Seager for taking too long to get ready, then plunked him on the next pitch and got ejected. Afterward, Seager said Weaver "quit on his team."

Video: [email protected]: Weaver plunks Seager, gets tossed in 5th

Garrett Richards and Andrew Heaney will pitch the first two games of the Mariners series, respectively. Matt Shoemaker, who missed nearly three weeks with a strain in his right forearm, will probably be pushed back to Tuesday. Scioscia said Shoemaker came out of his last start "a little bit stiff."

• The Angels are still in the process of interviewing general manager candidates and are hopeful of a resolution by the end of the season. Angels director of pro scouting Hal Morris has a lot of support within the organization, but many also view Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler as the favorite.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and listen to his podcast.
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